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Oyster Hotel Review
A sleek, contemporary hotel that's high on design and unique details.
Andaz is a mini Hyatt chain that caters to a hip, sophisticated crowd, and this outpost in Midtown Manhattan -- with a supremely convenient location -- is no exception. Foregoing the bright colors and neon lights used by many modern hotels, Andaz Fifth Avenue welcomes guests with muted colors and understated class: high ceilings, slate flooring, an esoteric sculpture at the entrance.
Like the other Andaz hotels, it's the special touches that make this hotel unique. A host will greet you to check you in on a hand-held tablet computer, skipping the traditional check-in desk. There's a subtle library theme, which includes coffee table books being displayed throughout the hotel and a free lending library in the lobby (staff from the New York Public Library across the street stop by once a month to change the books). Guests can use the touch-screen computer in the lobby to check themselves in or out of the hotel, or to print boarding passes. And perhaps best of all, freebies abound, like water bottles in the lobby, Wi-Fi across the hotel, minibar snacks and non-alcoholic drinks (many of which are from local vendors), a small check-out gift of choice (a Fat Witch Bakery brownie, or a mini C.O. Bigelow hand cream, for example), wine in the lobby from 6 to 9 each evening, and made-to-order barista coffee in the lobby lounge.
Which isn't to say that the big things don't shine as well, because they do. Nice-sized rooms have soaring ceilings, huge windows, and unique bathrooms (with to-die-for walk-in showers). The lobby has multiple spaces in which to lounge with a cup of coffee or a newspaper, both of which are provided for free. The restaurant, The Shop, serves light fare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and stocks its kitchen with food from local vendors, like Katz's Delicatessen and Sullivan Street Bakery (plenty of local goodies are also available for purchase, like bars of Mast Brothers Chocolate, North Fork Potato Chips, Rick’s Picks pickles, and novels that take place in New York).
Smack in the center of Manhattan, close to, well, everything.
Whether traveling for business or pleasure, the central location of this hotel is tough to beat. It's smack in the middle of Manhattan, directly across the street from the Beaux-Arts New York Public Library and Bryant Park, and close to both Times Square and the office buildings of Midtown East. The hotel is within 10 minutes walking of 14 subway lines.
- 6-minute walk to Grand Central Station
- 10-minute walk to Times Square and the Theater District
- 10-minute walk to the Empire State Building
- 14-minute walk to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa)
- 16-minute walk to Penn Station and Madison Square Garden
- 17-minute walk to Central Park, about the same by subway
- 18 minutes by subway to the East Village neighborhood
- 18 minutes by subway to SoHo neighborhood
- 22 minutes by subway to the Metropolitan Museum of Art
- 25 minutes by subway to Wall Street and the Financial District
Comfortable and spacious, if a bit bland
Andaz King Room
All rooms are at least 320 square feet and have 12-foot ceilings. They also all have floor-to-ceiling windows. It's pretty hard to say anything bad, though I did find the furnishings to be sparse and the color scheme to be a bit muted and unexciting. Funky bathrooms, however, make up for any shortcomings in the rooms. Every bathroom has a huge walk-in shower with rain showerhead, lots of slate, and unique tri-fold panel doors.
All rooms include:
- 12-foot-high ceilings
- Floor-to-ceiling windows
- Free Wi-Fi
- 42-inch flat-screen TV (bigger in some suites)
- DVD player, On Demand, and internet on the TV for $15 per day
- Heating/cooling control
- Robes and slippers
- Minibar with free snacks and non-alcoholic drinks, plus alcohol for a fee
- iPod dock
- Large wooden work desk
- Safe big enough for a laptop
- Bathroom with C.O. Bigelow toiletries and a huge shower and rain showerhead
- Andaz King: 320 square feet and a king bed. Overlooks the hotel's landscaped courtyard.
- Andaz Large King: 390 square feet. King bed. Views of 41st or 42nd Street.
- Andaz Large Twin: 390 square feet. Two twin beds and a big chaise lounge chair. Overlooks 41st Street.
- Andaz Loft or Large Loft: 366 or 483 square feet. Sitting area and bed in one room. Overlooking 42nd Street or courtyard. Those in the South Tower include a kitchenette.
- Andaz Extra Large View King or Twin: 498 square feet. Overlooks Fifth Avenue and the New York Public Library. Sitting area and bed in one room. Comes with either two twin beds or one king bed.
- Andaz Suite: 519 square feet. Overlooks the courtyard or surrounding streets. Includes a kitchenette (coffeemaker, microwave). Bedroom and sitting area are separated by a door. Two TVs.
- Andaz Large Suite: 675 square feet. Overlooks either Fifth Avenue/New York Public Library or the quieter 41st Street. Includes a kitchenette coffeemaker microwave). Bedroom and sitting area are separated by a door. Two TVs.
- Andaz Splash Suite: 787 square feet. Corner suite. Overlooks Empire State Building as well as Fifth Avenue/New York Public Library. Large free-standing soaking tub with views.
- Andaz Large Two-Bedroom Suite: 971 square feet. Two bedrooms, each with TV. Separate sitting area. Kitchenette. Overlooks 41st Street or Fifth Avenue/New York Public Library. Two bathrooms (no tubs). Suites on floors 12-14 have a balcony.
- Andaz Extra Large Two-Bedroom Suite: 1537 square feet. Corner suite. Overlooks Empire State Building and Fifth Avenue/New York Public Library. Two bedrooms, each with TV. Separate sitting area. Kitchenette.
- Andaz Extra Large Terrace Suite: 1179 square feet. Corner suite. Two bedrooms and sitting area. Includes a 793 square feet terrace (views of Empire State Building and New York Public Library).
There are business services and a fitness center, but the event space takes the cake.
The fitness center
The second floor of the hotel is one huge event space overlooking the beautiful New York Public Library. The space is separated into different rooms -- a bar, a cozy den, an open kitchen, conference rooms, an outside garden -- that can be rented out separately for meetings or as one large space for bigger events. Conference rooms are a big notch above your standard hotel conference spaces, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the library, large flat-screen TVs, leather chairs, and a handsome-looking bookcase (colorful coffee table books, classy trinkets).
- 24-hour fitness center with complimentary water bottles, cold towels, and headphones. Sports-themed coffee table books on display, a continuation of the hotel's subtle library theme.
- A laptop with printing capabilities is available for free in the lobby lounge, and hotel staff can assist with faxing as well.
- The lobby has several different sections for, well, lounging (or reading a newspaper, or having some coffee).
- Lending library in the lobby from which guests can borrow books during their stay, free of charge
A charming cafe and a bespoke basement bar
- The Shop is small but bright space with an open kitchen that serves light fare, using local ingredients whenever possible (meat from Katz's Delicatessen, bread from Sullivan Street Bakery, dairy from Ronnybrook Farm). The Shop is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner Monday through Friday, and for brunch and dinner on Saturday and Sunday.
- The restaurant includes retail space, which sells local snacks and goods like chocolate bars, pickles, coffee beans, and potato chips (as well as books about New York, like The Great Gatsby).
- The Bar Downstairs, opened from 5 p.m. to midnight every day but Sunday, is a handsome, dark, wood-filled bar that serves old-world cocktails. It features a cheese room, a fireplace, communal walnut tables, and long tufted leather couches. There's a full menu of small plates, which use local and/or sustainable meats.
- The neighborhood isn't known for restaurants (it's mostly office buildings and retail stores), but you can get anywhere in Manhattan using the nearby subways, and the restaurants of Times Square and the Theater District are just a 10-minute walk away.
The 184-room Andaz Fifth Avenue -- an outpost of Hyatt's stylish, luxury mini-chain -- sets itself apart with clean, New York-inspired design by Tony Chi and an unbeatable location. But it's the details that truly impress: check-in happens on tablet computers (there's no real front desk), freebies abound, the lobby includes a lending library -- the list goes on. The restaurant, bar, beautiful event space, and fitness center don't hurt either.
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Things You Should Know About Andaz Fifth Avenue
- 485 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10017
- Andaz Extra Large 2-Bedroom Suite
- Andaz Extra Large Terrace Suite
- Andaz Extra Large View King
- Andaz Extra Large View Twin
- Andaz King
- Andaz Large 2-Bedroom Suite
- Andaz Large King
- Andaz Large Loft
- Andaz Large Suite
- Andaz Large Twin
- Andaz Loft
- Andaz Splash Suite
- Andaz Suite